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Jail term for parents disobeying court orders in Saudi Arabia

Ministry of Justice has penalized 2,955 couples for refusing to comply with the court’s order this year

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice has announced a penalty of three months in prison for anyone refusing to comply with the court’s visitation, custody and dowry cases and their verdicts.

Former executive judge Abdulaziz Al-Shabramy said the ministry already penalized 2,955 married couples for refusing to comply with the court’s order this year.

“Refusing to comply with the court’s order is a criminal offense that can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years. Parents who refuse to give up their children after a custody lawsuit or a visitation lawsuit will face three months in prison,” said Al-Shabramy. He added the same penalty applies for repeat offenders.

“If the refusal was accompanied with abuse or assault, the parent will be penalized for breaching of public right to safety, especially if the victim was an employee doing his or her job. The parent may also be sued by the victim as it is the victim’s private right to defend himself,” said Al-Shabramy.

The former executive judge added there have been 1,586 visitation cases this year, 934 custody cases, 425 dowry cases.

“Makkah province had 696 visitation cases, Riyadh province had 176 cases, the Eastern Province had 173 cases and Najran had two cases. Makkah province had 340 custody cases out of 425 cases,” said Al-Shabramy.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 10, 2016.